Top honour for Dronfield ‘heritage hero’ who helped to raise more than £1.5m to restore historic barn

Award winner Mike Slinn.
Award winner Mike Slinn.
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A ‘heritage hero’ has been recognised with a national award for helping to raise more than £1.5 million to transform a derelict medieval barn into a top visitor attraction.

Mike Slinn picked up the ‘Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Hero Award Overall Project Winner’ accolade at The Heritage Alliance’s annual awards ceremony in honour of his work to restore Dronfield Hall Barn.

Over the course of 13 years Mr Slinn led a campaign to raise a whopping £1.5m to rescue the once derelict building, which dates back to the 15th century.

He and a team of volunteers overcame planning obstacles and transformed the now Grade II listed building into a major visitor attraction, which includes a heritage centre, exhibitions and space to hold special occasions such as weddings.

Mr Slinn, who retired as chairman of the Dronfield Heritage Trust in March this year, picked up his award from Loyd Grossman, chairman of the Heritage Alliance, at the Freemasons’ Hall in London on Thursday, December 1.

He said: “I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of the people of the town who together with member organisations of The Heritage Alliance have worked tirelessly and given generously to redevelop this derelict medieval grade II barn into a thriving centre for heritage, natural history and the arts.”

Mr Grossman added: “Mike Slinn’s work at Dronfield Hall Barn shows how successful heritage projects have the potential to transform the communities around them.”

He was nominated for the award by the Architectural Heritage Fund, a charity which helps to regenerate historic buildings at risk.